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  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    First in a riveting new ghostly series

    Jackson Stone doesn't believe in ghosts. That's why he sneaks off from the organised tour of the allegedly haunted Chinese town and spends the night in its scary temple. Alone. At least, that was how he planned it before a mysterious young woman joins him. Before long, Jackson will wish he had stayed with the rest of the group when everything he has believed in - and hasn't believed in - is called into question. He asks questions. Too many questions for one man, but what really went on the day they flooded the town of Hensu? J.H. Moncrieff first came to my attention with her novella, The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave I love her brand of scary, suspenseful horror where the story takes you through chills, fears, the supernatural and paranormal. Great start to a new series. I have already bought book 2!
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    Action-packed and emotionally powerful ghost story

    I wasn’t sure before I read City of Ghosts if it was going to be a psychological thriller, supernatural horror, or an action/adventure. Somehow J.H. manages to incorporate elements of each in this haunting story that grips you by the heart and doesn’t let go. Moncrieff is a natural-born storyteller, and what struck me even more than the fast-paced plot was the depth of her characters. The book opens with the protagonist, Jackson, having snuck away from his tour group to spend the night in a Chinese ghost city. He’s cute, good with the ladies, and is hell-bent on writing a spooky account of his experiences, regardless of whether or not anything actually happens or who he inconveniences. It’s easy enough to write a glib, chauvinistic male character, but you soon find out Moncrieff’s hero isn’t one-dimensional at all. You can see glimmers of depth to him even from the early pages, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch him grow over the course of the novel into a man who can put others before himself and think about the bigger picture. The other main character, Kate, is also realistically drawn. It’s refreshing to see a female character with a strong personality of her own. She has her friends, both men and women, but she also has people in her tour group she doesn’t get along with. It was great to see a realistic depiction of a tour group, instead of the we’re-all-BFFs approach. The villain wasn’t the typical villain; the wronged ghost wasn’t the typical wronged ghost, and the nuanced characters made this a pleasure to read. I loved the characters, and found myself getting so caught up in the action and intrigue that I kept saying, “Okay, just one more chapter before bed.” Moncrieff is an excellent writer, and the story picks up steam until your heart is racing along with the action. I won’t give away anything about the gut-wrenching ending other than to say that you may want to have a tissue handy. If this action/mystery/supernatural/horror/adventure thrill-ride is par for the course for Moncrieff, I can’t wait to read the sequel!
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